Revealed: John Cleese's new BBC comedy | A rom-com called Edith © Rose d'Or

Revealed: John Cleese's new BBC comedy

A rom-com called Edith

More details have emerged of John Cleese’s first BBC comedy for almost 40 years.

In August it was revealed that the Fawlty Towers star was in talks to return to the Corporation - despite saying a year earlier that he would never work for the broadcaster again.

Now The Mail on Sunday reports that he will be making his comeback in a bittersweet romantic comedy called Edith, playing one of several men vying for the affections of the title character.

A BBC source told the paper the project was still in its early stages, and the lead role had yet to be cast.

‘As the title suggests, Edith is the principal character. John is one of the leading male roles but it is very much a supporting role to Edith,’ they said.

The script has been written by Charles McKeown, who has existing links with Cleese and other Pythons. He started off his career with minor roles on Michael Palin’s Ripping Yarns and Life of Brian, and even appeared in an episode of Fawlty Towers as a guest caught with a blow-up doll. His character was called Mr Ingrams, Cleese’s revenge on journalist Richard Ingrams, who wrote a negative review of the sitcom in The Spectator.

McKeown is best known for his collaborations with Terry Gilliam on films including Brazil and The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen

The move shows a thawing of relations between the BBC and Cleese, 76, who last year vowed: ‘There’s no way I want to work in TV, especially at the BBC.’

And in 2014 he said the BBC’s comedy output contained ‘an awful lot of c**p’, blaming commissioning editors who ‘haven’t actually written comedy or directed it and yet they think they understand comedy’.

In August, BBC comedy chief Shane Allen said of Cleese: ‘He’s a comedy god and the door is always open to him. There are certain people who have earned their badges, who have got the right to do what they want.’

Published: 15 Oct 2016

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